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Home > About the Chesapeake > Bay Regions > Mouth of the Bay, Hampton Roads & James River
Mouth of the Bay, Hampton Roads & James River
Photo from Mouth of the Bay, Hampton Roads & James River

The influence of the Atlantic Ocean seems everpresent at the mouth of the Bay. In the water, salinity levels are high enough to support dolphins and other ocean species. On land, human settlement patterns usually have an Atlantic twist. Ocean access is one reason the famed settlement of Jamestown was established here in 1607. The same access helps make urbanized Hampton Roads an important cargo port and Naval center today.

The James River is the natural connection between Hampton Roads and the broader Chesapeake watershed. Along its 450-mile course, the James shows off a little of everything—extraordinary mountain scenery, grand Colonial plantations, and some of the East Coast’s best rafting whitewater.

Gateways in this region offer a rich array of historical and natural experiences. Water trails lead paddlers through landscapes both rural and urban. Museums and historical parks explore the traditions of colonial America, military history, and maritime life.

Regional Map

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Featured Gateway
Virginia Living Museum - Newport News, VA
See animals native to Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay swim, slither, roam and fly in the all-new, three times larger Virginia Living Museum. Transport yourself to the steamy world of a cypress swamp, complete with alligators and snapping turtles. Find songbirds nestled in the trees around a cascading mountain water...More info

Regional Events
11/27 Holiday Evening in the Planetarium - planetarium show about the Star of Bethlehem, laser music shows
12/11 Starparty/Planetarium Shows - sky observing; planetarium shows
12/04 Wintertime on the Bay - kids' program on Chesapeake Bay

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